Community engagement is an essential element of a vital and vibrant strategic planning program.
Customers and constituents want to align with organizations they trust and believe in. Your strategic plan can be a huge connecting device to the world, and most important, to your key audiences.
But where to start?
It may be surprising to learn that strategic plan community engagement must first start internally, within your organization..
When employees are knowledgeable about the strategic plan within their organization, an organization is well-positioned to then engage external audiences.
Here are some innovative, practical ways to innovate internal strategic plan engagement
The CEO, executive team and board of directors (if applicable) must be committed to a vibrant strategic planning program – the process, the plan, and the ongoing tracking system for monitoring both strategic and annual goals.
The leadership team should plan a variety of ways to purposefully connect employees with the strategic plan.
- Managers and emerging leaders should be invited to participate in the strategic planning workshop or series of meetings – for parts of the process if not for the entire process.
- Leadership should be trained to meet with their staff, share the plan, and then develop department, unit and individual goals that support the organization’s strategic and annual goals.
- Employee influencers could be tapped, trained, and encouraged to share strategic plan key messaging within the organization, as well as externally with the public as community ambassadors. This is a new frontier – and a significant opportunity to engage and empower employees to share highlights about your company’s future.
- Periodic updates should be shared with all staff members. Goal progress discussions could be discussed at the department and individual level on a monthly basis.
- Both work group and individual performance metrics should be connected to an organization’s strategic direction and goals.
- Employee celebration, recognition, and training programs could be shaped to support strategic plan goal achievement.
Meaningful and doable ways to cultivate external strategic plan engagement.
- Include your customers in a strategic plan survey to invite input about the quality of your organization’s products, programs, and services. Incorporate the data into your strategy sessions during the strategic planning process.
- Invite relevant community leaders to serve on a strategic planning information panel, or to participate in specific discussions pertinent to your organization’s future.
- Publish highlights of the strategic plan in both digital and hard-copy formats. Put strategic plan highlights on your website. Spotlight the most important and exciting key messages about your organization’s strategic future.
- Conduct a series of town hall meetings (virtually and in-person, whatever is most effective) to share the desired future and high-level strategies (as appropriate) with external audiences.
- Use social media to your organization’s advantage, communicating brief, very key messages about your organization’s strategic direction. (Think car manufacturers who are promoting their future in electric vehicles, for example!)
Community engagement with your organization’s strategic plan begins right within your organization before it can radiate to external audiences. Stay tuned for more exciting ideas for strategic plan community engagement.